Posts Tagged ‘Sabbath’

Lately I feel as though I’ve had the weight of the world on my shoulders. I’m struggling with what it is to be a person as well as a priest and IF it is possible to separate the two. I knowingly signed up for this lifestyle, this vocation, knowing that I would always be on-call and I would always be working, in one way or another.

Most days I can separate my administrative duties from my household duties as I keep regular office hours. But now that we are in summer, my daughter is home with me every other week, which makes office hours a challenge. I still get the work done, but it’s from the kitchen table as opposed to the desk at the office. And in between tasks, I take a break to get more coffee or water, and then throw in another load of laundry, sweep the floor, change the bedding, etc.

Is the multi-tasking healthy? I’d like to think there are times for it and benefits for it. Laundry, for example, mostly does itself. So I can throw in a load, work on something, take a break for fabric softener, work on something, take a break to hang it out or throw it in the dryer in inclement weather, and so on.

I have been trying to grow my hair out. And I really shouldn’t. I decided a few months back that I’d like to be able to put my hair up on really hot days. My hair is also quite thick. And so in the hottest days of the season (so far) I had my hair stuck out at all angles, because it was too short to put up but too long to lay flat. Argh.

I had a baptism on Saturday and afterwards I was feeling quite good, but also in need of a significant change, so I went to the hairdresser where I have been going since I returned to the city (about 9 years). Two of my favourite stylists were working. They had similar hairstyles and I wanted what they had, plus a hit of colour – red and I mean red. So I am now sporting what is called an “undercut” whereby I have a mop of hair on my head which is streaked with brown, blonde and red. The hair has movement and on the sides and back it is shaved close to the skin. LOTS of versatility and apparently if it show one side of the shaving, it makes me “badass”. Something I never realised I wanted to be…lol.

Last night my beloved and I went to the Pride Church service where the banners were blessed. It was quite warm in the sanctuary, but we endured and enjoyed ourselves. My beloved and I both sing in the choir and the choir presented “Climb E’vry Mountain” which was quite well received. We have a new musical director and he is awesome. The entire service was fantastic.

One of my favourite parts of attending church at MCC is how communion is done. You come forward; by yourself, with your partner, your family, or friends. A wafer is dipped in grape juice and placed in your mouth, then the Eucharistic minister blesses you and prays with you. Last night’s blessing and prayer brought tears to my eyes…hearing how much I am loved, how our union is blessed by God, how we are never alone…all things I really needed to hear. I say them often enough to other people, but it had been a long time since someone said them to me.

So now I find myself happy but weary. My two-week vacation begins in just under two weeks. I have two more Sunday services and I’m on the train to “elsewhere”. I am really, really ready to be away.

I am ready to disengage from the frenetic pace that is parish life, and really and truly be away. I have lists to make, instructions to send, pastoral visits to follow-up on and then I’m well and truly on vacation.

I am ready.

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I am, by nature, a tidy person. I live with an adult, a tween and a dog. And between them they generate a LOT of mess. I’ve tried to leave it until they decide to clean it up themselves. I’ve tried gentle reminders. I’ve tried written notes and “to do” lists. And then I throw my hands up and do it myself.

Perhaps it’s not the best way to deal with the situation, but I can’t function in chaos.

So I’ve decided to take our spare bedroom and transform it into my own space. There is already a floor lamp in there, and a couple of comfy chairs. My elliptical machine is in there, as well as a set of shelves and some boxes. The plan is to rearrange the room into functional space, put my yoga mat near the elliptical, move the shelves and fill with books and whatnot that are meaningful to me. There will be candles, there will be quiet and it will become a room of my own.

No people or pets allowed, unless by invitation. It will be a place that stays tidy and clean, and anything that is put in there is by me. I don’t know how long this transformation will take place, but I am hopeful it will be a place where I find peace and focus on my breathing. It will be a place of health and holiness. And best of all, it will be a place just for me.

Selfish? Perhaps, but my mental health is worth something, right?

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Sabbath Keeping

There has long been a history of Sabbath or literally “stop keeping”, whereby work ceases.  For many of us that means a day off or two, or perhaps more if we work shifts.  As a person in ministry there is often a perception that my main work is Sunday and the rest of the time I visit the hospital and have tea with old ladies.

Now, to be fair, there are times when I do have tea with old ladies, who have taught me more about having fun and living life gracefully than words can express.  But the “work” of clergy happens all the time.  It happens everywhere.  We don’t get breaks legislated to us.  We choose to take them, or in some cases, we don’t take any.  I tend to fall in the latter category where I get up in the morning, have a quick shower, get dressed, make coffee, say a few quick prayers and spend the day staring at a computer screen, reading, writing, organising my calendar, racing out to make a hospital visit, dropping by to provide home communion, grabbing unhealthy food from the drive-thru, then at last arriving home, exhausted and somewhat irritable that the house isn’t clean.  Check in with my spouse, remind my daughter about her homework and to pack her lunch, find something to eat out of the fridge and then off to bed which is restless and not refreshing.  

Needless to say, this is not a healthy way to live.

So I’ve decided to schedule my days and to try and keep by the schedule wherever possible.  Mondays are reserved for Bible Study and planning.  It’s also the day I begin homiletic preparation.  Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I keep office hours at the church and use that time to get administrative work done, check in with parishioners and keep myself focused for three hours.  If I have an evening meeting, I keep the afternoon free to do what I choose to do, be it housework, laundry, taking a walk, reading a book, meditating, etc.

Friday is my Day Off.  This is something new to me.  On Friday I don’t check email, unless I’m waiting on something personal.  I take the day slowly.  I may or may not do housework.  I spend quality time with my family.  And I will on occasion, have lunch with a friend.  Some of my friends are clergy and we have a rule…when we meet for lunch, we don’t “talk shop” unless previously agreed.  And if we are meeting on a Friday, the rule is strictly enforced.

Balance is something that has been sorely lacking in my life, and although it’s early days, I’m enjoying the “found time”.  I’m enjoying not feeling rushed, even though my days are as busy as they ever were.  And I’ve kicked guilt to the curb.  I know what I do with my day.  So does God.  And that’s good enough.


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